Mississippi-based Olin Winchester this week secured a nine-figure Pentagon award for assorted handgun ammunition.
Based in Oxford, Olin-Winchester was awarded a $145 million fixed-price contract to make .38 caliber, .45 caliber, and 9mm ammunition for the Army. The contract was issued by the Army's Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois.
The company has been making M1153 and M1152 9mm loads as part of the U.S. Army Modular Handgun System (MHS) program since 2016, but the inclusion of .38 and .45 is interesting and points to stocks of specialized or legacy firearms still in use by the military. Another possibility is its use by competition teams, such as the elite U. S. Army Marksmanship Unit and World Class Athlete programs, or for reshipment to overseas allies.
Besides the handgun rounds, Winchester is also a primary vendor for the military's carbine and machine gun ammo. The company runs the government-owned, contractor-operated Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Missouri. Lake City is the country's main federal small arms ammo plant, making assorted 5.56 NATO, 7.62 NATO, and .50 caliber BMG rounds. Winchester earlier this year received a $20 million contract to set up a new 6.8mm line at Lake City for the Army's pending Next Generation Squad Weapons program winner.
Once a staple of Illinois, Winchester has been moving its manufacturing over the past decade to gun-friendly North Mississippi where it has a 500,000-square-foot facility, employing well over 1,000 in the Magnolia State. The company's executive offices are in Clayton, Missouri.
A tour of the Oxford mega plant, courtesy of American Rifleman Television: